The Week (US)
Warship sinks: The largest ship in Iran’s navy, the Kharg, sank this week after catching fire near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The crew disembarked safely after battling the blaze for more than 20 hours. A training ship in service for more than 40 years, the Kharg was in international waters for a naval exercise. Iran gave no cause for the fire, which may have been an accident or sabotage. Iranian and Israeli cargo ships in the region have suffered a string of mysterious explosions over the past two years, and both countries have accused the other of being behind the attacks. Fires and explosions have occurred at other Iranian military and nuclear sites in recent months, as the U.S. and Iran negotiate a possible revival of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Container ship disaster: Sri Lanka is facing a major ecological disaster after a chemical-laden cargo ship that had been ablaze off the country’s west coast for nearly two weeks sank below the waves. The Singaporean-registered MV X-Press Pearl was transporting 25 tons of nitric acid as well as other hazardous material and had some 300 tons of heavy fuel oil in its tanks when it caught fire last month. Millions of micropellets—used to make plastic products— have already washed up on beaches near the capital, Colombo, and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to clean up the mess. The pellets can kill marine wildlife by getting caught in the gills of fish or being ingested by sea turtles. Now authorities fear that the fuel oil on board the X-Press Pearl will spill, contaminating valuable fishing waters.